Kenya Proposes VAT for Netflix, Podcasts and Downloads


The National Treasury has published a new draft regulation named the Value Added Tax (Digital Marketplace Supply) Regulations, 2020 that seeks to tax services that are supplied in Kenya through the digital space.

The list of the documented products and services that are targeted is long and follows the now approved Finance Act, 2019 that legally allows the taxman to levy taxes on products and services pushed through the digital space.

According to the proposal, the following services will be taxed should the draft receive the President’s signature.

  1. Downloadable digital content, including mobile apps, e-books, and films.
  2. Subscription-based media, including journals, magazines news, streaming services (Netflix, Showmax, et al.), as well as podcasts, online gaming, and music.
  3. Software programs including drivers, website filters, and firewalls.
  4. Electronic data management including web hosting, online data warehousing, file sharing, and cloud storage services,
  5. Supply of music, films, and games.
  6. Supply of search-engine and automated helpdesk services including supply of customized search-engine services.
  7. Tickets purchased for live events, theatres, restaurants et al. purchased through the internet.
  8. Supply of distance teaching via pre-recorded medium or e-learning services including online courses and training.
  9. Supply of digital content for listening, viewing, or playing or any audio, visual or digital media.
  10. Supply of services on online marketplaces that links the supplier to the recipient, including transport hailing platforms.
  11. Any other digital marketplace supply as may be determined by the Commissioner.

Any person or group supplying the said services and products through a digital marketplace will be required to register for VAT.

The proposal details a simplified VAT registration framework and amendment of returns, among other details related to tax obligations.


Those who will not comply with the regulations will be liable to restriction of access to the digital marketplace until such obligations are fulfilled.

Additional penalties have not been detailed.